Third World Cop is a Great Movie to Learn How to Speak...

Third World Cop is a Great Movie to Learn How to Speak Jamaican

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ca. 1998, Cancun, Mexico --- Lounge Chairs on Beach at Club Med --- Image by © Macduff Everton/CORBIS
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I recently watched the film Third World Cop and I must say it is a great film for the student of Jamaican Patois or anyone that wants to learn to speak Jamaican. The movie is based in Kingston, Jamaica, and has an all Jamaican cast that is made up of famous dancehall artists like Elephant Man and Ninjaman and many prominent Jamaican actors and actresses. For anyone that has seen Dancehall Queen, many members of the cast also play a role in Third World Cop such as Paul Campbell, Mark Danvers and Audrey Reid.

The movie is the story of a police office from Kingston who goes by the name Capone (Paul Campbell). Capone is transferred from Port Antonio back to Kingston in an effort to breakdown the organized crime occurring in the Dungle neighborhood of Kingston, where Capone is originally from. Upon his return to Kingston, Capone is given the assignment to investigate gun smuggling into the neighborhood. When Capone goes to the Dungle, he learns that his best friend’s little brother, Ratty, is a huge community leader. Although, Ratty is a hero in the community, he is much more involved in the underworld dealings than people would like to believe. When Capone learns that Ratty is involved, he does everything he can to stop and help Ratty and also stop the criminal kingpins arming the neighborhood.

I do not want to give too much of the movie away because I truly think it holds a special place for the person looking to learn how to speak Jamaican. No, the movie will never be a Hollywood blockbuster and it is not the best film quality, but there are so many other gems in this movie. From a language perspective, this movie is in the top 5 for Jamaican Patois. The language largely used throughout the film is Patois and the DVD allows you to use subtitles, so this really helps in building your understanding. The most famous patois expression in the movie is “We run tings, tings nuh run we.” The pronunciation is that of native speakers so you hear the words in the right context and emotions. You also see people greeting each other and just having everyday interaction. This is invaluable and makes the film well worth watching.

From a cultural standpoint, the film also sheds light on the “bad man” element of Jamaica. This is a recurring theme in many Jamaican films. A “Bad Man” is a gangster for all intensive purposes and many of the Jamaican movies that are not focused on Rastafari put emphasis on the gangster element of Jamaica. Along with the “bad man” you see the role of the police in Jamaican society and how much respect or lack thereof the community has for them. Finally, like most films based in the developing world, there is a glimpse into the struggle of people trying to make something of themselves, but still being held down by other forces.

All in all, I say this film is well worth your time and really worth buying. As mentioned, the film is invaluable in learning to speak Jamaican. I would highly recommend this film.

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